Tuesday, May 27, 2008

UAE rejects Iranian stance on islands

Abu Dhabi-05.27.08
The United Arab Emirates protested on Tuesday against Iran's dismissal of a three-decade territorial dispute as a "misunderstanding", saying the Islamic Republic was occupying its islands in the strategic Gulf.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said on Sunday that there was no need for any mediation over the islands, saying if there was any "misunderstanding between the countries it will be resolved through bilateral talks".
The three islands -- the Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa -- are controlled by non-Arab Iran but claimed by the UAE with broad Arab support.
"It seems the Iranian side does not want to understand," a UAE Foreign Ministry official said.
"There is no 'misunderstanding' between us but an actual occupation. There is no occupied land more sacred than any other. Occupation is occupation whether it is by Israel or Iran or any other country."
An Arab League summit in March pledged support for the UAE, calling for a peaceful resolution to the dispute in the Gulf, a crucial outlet for world crude oil supply, which it said would help improve relations between the Arab world and Iran.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi told the summit the UAE should seek international arbitration in the dispute but there has been little progress toward resolving the dispute over the years.
The Iranian comments came after a delegation from the UAE's advisory Federal National Council asked Russia this month to persuade Iran to resolve the issue either through direct negotiations or international arbitration.
The UAE's official news agency, WAM, reported that Russia had responded positively to the suggestion.
Hosseini said ties between the UAE and Iran were at their best and the Islamic Republic was always ready for bilateral talks. (Source)


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